Ada Lawrence Community Room

A multipurpose space.

We welcome organizations to rent the Community Room to facilitate programming and events.

Past events have included: banquets, lectures, board meetings, public comment sessions, gallery openings, community dinners, and movie nights.

Room Details


This room is located on the ground floor and contains 14 6″ tables, 32 chairs, and a podium.


Organizations will have access to a projector, two 85″ screen TVs, built-in audio, two wireless microphones, and a Blu-Ray player.

Catering Kitchen

Our catering kitchen is available to keep prepared food at food-safe temperatures prior to serving. It is equipped with a freezer, fridge, sink, ice cube machine, warming oven, and mobile 3-pan buffet serving station. An additional $25/hr fee will be included for guests utilizing the kitchen.


The Erie Art Museum has generously loaned us artwork from George D. Green. The artwork is on permanent display in the Community Room.


In order to maintain our space and technology, reservations for the Ada Lawrence Community Room are $50/hr. To request a reservation, please contact our Building Manager.

Tamika Craig
Building Manager

Ada Lawrence

“In this building dedicated to education and community, who better to name this room after than Ada Lawrence. As the first Black teacher in the Erie School District, she was a trailblazer. She taught for 36 years, impacting many children and adults as well. Her long teaching tenure here at the Wayne School signifies a link between Ada Lawrence’s teaching commitment and the community education mission of ECAT. We are so proud to have this room named after Ada Lawrence, a true inspiration in the Erie community.” – Linda & Brian Graff

An erie icon

Ms. Ada Louise Lawrence grew up in Erie, graduated from Strong Vincent High School in 1939, and then graduated from Cheney State Teachers College in 1943. Later she earned a Master’s Degree in Guidance and Counseling from Gannon University.

After teaching for a brief time at a segregated school in Maryland, 26-year-old Lawrence returned to Erie and was hired in 1946 by the Erie School District. She was the first full-time Black teacher hired in the twentieth century by the Erie School District. Significantly, Lawrence was hired eight years before the United States Supreme Court ruled that racial segregation was unconstitutional in Brown vs. Board of Education.

an influential career

Lawrence taught at Wayne School from 1949-1978, nearly 30 years, before wrapping up her years of service with 4 years at Tech Memorial High School. Ms. Lawrence taught for 36 years before retiring in 1982.

As an experienced Black teacher, Lawrence also mentored younger Black teachers such as Johnny Johnson and Celestine Davis and passed on her knowledge and passion for Erie Black history.

Lawrence also served on the board of the Dr. Gertrude Barber Center, helped establish the Martin Luther King Center, and served many years with the Erie Chapter of the NAACP and the Harry T. Burleigh Society. Ada Lawrence passed away in 2014 after a life in service of her community.

Special thanks to Johnny Johnson for his dedication to sharing Erie’s history, and his contributions to the preservation of the Lawrence estate. To learn more about Ada Lawrence, visit a Shared Heritage or the Erie County Public Library.

The Erie Center for Arts & Technology (ECAT) is a community-based educational arts and career training facility that inspires, educates and empowers people of all ages with adult job training and creative youth programs.




Erie Center for Arts & Technology
650 East Avenue, Suite 120
Erie, PA 16503

Monday - Friday
8:30 AM - 4:30 PM